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European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch - 21 March

by Fran Sat Mar 20th, 2010 at 05:06:20 PM EST

 A Daily Review Of International Online Media 

Europeans on this date in history:

1936 – Mike Westbrook, an English jazz pianist, composer, and writer of orchestrated jazz pieces, was born.

More here and video

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by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 20th, 2010 at 01:59:02 PM EST
ECONOMY: Greek Crisis Impacts the Balkans - IPS ipsnews.net
ATHENS, Mar 20, 2010 (IPS) - Serious concerns are being raised about the impact of the ongoing recession in Greece on the political and economic situation in the neighbouring Balkans.

Greece has been at the centre of a financial tempest for the past five months, after its newly-elected government accepted that its public deficit was 12.7 percent rather than 3.3 percent and that its debt figures had been engineered creatively by previous administrations.

This led credit trust institutions like Fich, Standard and Poors and Moodys to devaluate Greece's lending status in the international market, thus opening the ground for profiteering over Greek debt bonds by hedge funds.

When the crisis posed a direct threat to the stability of the European monetary union, Brussels intervened, asking the country to adopt a programme of economic shock therapy.

Under pressure from international markets and its European partners to reduce its deficit, the Panhellenic Socialist Party (Pasok) government announced tax increases and a 30 percent cut to the two-month "bonus" pay Greek civil servants receive each year.

However, the cuts to public workers' salaries, along with the two percent increase in the value added tax, is expected to result in lower consumption and perpetuate a more painful recession for all Greeks.

This could also mean a spillover of the recession from Greece to the neighbouring economies. Greece is not only a major investor in the Balkans but also a donor and host to several hundred thousand economic migrants from the region.

"The political elites of the Southern Balkans are worried about the impact that the Greek economic crisis may have on the countries in the region," Dardan Velija, former integration advisor to Kosovo's prime minister, told IPS. "Albania has a large diaspora in Greece, which sends money back home and the Greek banking sector is spread into the neighbouring countries of Greece".
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 20th, 2010 at 02:27:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
RIGHTS: EU Selling Torture Equipment - IPS ipsnews.net
BRUSSELS, Mar 17, 2010 (IPS) - Equipment designed for torturing prisoners is still being exported from European Union (EU) countries despite a four-year-old ban on such trade, according to a new report by Amnesty International.

The human rights group has found that companies active in several of the EU's 27 states have exploited loopholes in controls aimed at putting an end to the selling of instruments of torture.

The EU rules - in force since 2006 - need to be widened to cover a number of devices that remain outside their scope, Amnesty has argued. It highlights how Nidec, a company trading from Spain, has been dealing in 'stun cuffs' in the past few years. Intended for restraining a detainee by placing them around his or her limbs, such cuffs inflict a painful electric shock. Unlike similar "stun belts", the cuffs are not explicitly banned by the EU's rules.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 20th, 2010 at 02:32:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Police battle to control EDL and UAF protest in Bolton

Police have battled with thousands of demonstrators during clashes between the English Defence League (EDL) and Unite Against Fascism (UAF) in Bolton.

More than 1,500 UAF and 2,000 EDL supporters were in Victoria Square and a number of people were injured.

Sixty-seven people were arrested, including the UAF protest organiser on suspicion of conspiracy to commit violent disorder, police said.

The EDL says it opposes "militant Islam" and Sharia law.

UAF accuses the EDL of being a far right party but it describes itself as a peaceful, non-political group.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 20th, 2010 at 02:33:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thousands rally against Putin, dozens detained | Reuters

(Reuters) - Russian police broke up an opposition demonstration in Moscow on Saturday, one of around 50 rallies across the country with thousands protesting falling living standards under Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

A coalition of opposition groups declared a national "Day of Anger" with nationwide rallies tapping into anger which has been rising since the economic crisis hit. The protests mixed local issues with anger at the federal government.

Opposition groups have been heartened by unusually large rallies in recent months. But riven by division they were unable to match the 10,000 people who gathered for a January rally in the western city of Kaliningrad, one of the largest in a decade.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 20th, 2010 at 02:35:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
UAF accuses the EDL of being a far right party but it describes itself as a peaceful, non-political group.

I'm sure the german national socialist party of the 30s were pretty peaceable too. It was just all those people in their way who were violent.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Mar 20th, 2010 at 06:05:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
France24 - Basque militants `caught' on video actually Catalans on holiday

AFP - Five people identified as ETA suspects in a surveillance video released in France and Spain are in fact firemen from Spain's Catalonia region who were on holiday, Spanish media said Saturday.

France and Spain on Friday released images from closed-circuit television cameras of five people Spanish police said were suspected members of the Basque separatist organisation involved in the killing of a French policeman near Paris this week.

But the government in the northeastern region of Catalonia said the five were in fact Catalan firemen who were on a climbing holiday in France, Spanish national radio reported.

The Catalan fire service was alerted by the men themselves, who had received calls from the family and friends who had recognised them from the video, the Europa Press news agency reported.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 20th, 2010 at 02:43:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
quelle comédie.

The march of civilizations is a series of defenses that man has put up against the dread of pure existence.
by marco on Sun Mar 21st, 2010 at 07:48:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As seen on TV.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sun Mar 21st, 2010 at 11:09:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's funny but a police officer was shot dead by the Basque commando... Scary for the Catalan firemen.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Mar 21st, 2010 at 03:43:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
France24 - IMF aid for Greece `not a question of prestige' says EU's Barroso
Speaking to FRANCE 24, Barroso said eurozone countries, including Germany, would be ready to extend aid to Greece - if asked. "Germany is ready in case Greece needs it, and so far Greece has not asked for financial support," he said.


The Greek debt crisis has strained relations between EU member states, most notably between France and Germany.

In a statement that sparked howls of protest from many eurozone members earlier this week, German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for eurozone countries that do not meet the criteria of stability to be excluded from the 16-member grouping. Merkel is very reluctant to pay out significant sums for other eurozone countries economic problems as it would play very badly domestically in Germany.

But in his interview with FRANCE 24, Barroso dismissed the idea of kicking out eurozone members. "I do not comment on other's comments," he stressed. "What I can tell you is the position of the Commission...currently, excluding a member state from the eurozone is not possible. It's absurd."

He also said the euro area was "ready to take all the necessary measures" to guarantee Greece's financial stability.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 20th, 2010 at 02:47:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Merkel Open to EU Aid to Greece, Shuns `Superficial' Solidarity - Bloomberg.com

March 20 (Bloomberg) -- Chancellor Angela Merkel signaled that Germany is open to European Union aid to Greece and denounced what she called "superficial" European solidarity that doesn't face up to the need for fiscal discipline.

Merkel said no decision has been made about whether to use EU aid to Greece or to seek assistance from the International Monetary Fund. A government spokesman today confirmed her statement, which was reported by Deutsche Presse Agentur, citing an interview with broadcaster Deutschlandfunk.

Merkel's government said yesterday it wouldn't rule out financial assistance from the IMF, while Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble's spokesman expressed "great reservation" about aid from the Washington-based fund.

The comments underscored the struggle within Merkel's government on how Europe's biggest economy should react to the Greek budget crisis, five days before European leaders hold a summit in Brussels. Public opposition to bailouts for Greece has escalated in Germany, the biggest stakeholder in the European Central Bank and main contributor to the EU budget.

The German government today sought to play down divisions between Merkel and Schaeuble, denying a report in Der Spiegel magazine that the finance minister ordered his staff not to communicate with chancellery officials without his consent.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 20th, 2010 at 04:37:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Greek crisis - the Franco-German dust-up | Presseurop - English

"The Greek crisis is turning into a perilous trial for the eurozone and the European Union," reports La Tribune, headlining with the widening "Greek rift" between Paris and Berlin. The latest knockback: Angela Merkel's reaction to the ultimatum laid down by Greek prime minister Georges Papandreou. If Europeans haven't come up with a solution to the Greek problem by 2 April, Athens will turn to the IMF for deliverance. But "the idea is alluring to Angela Merkel because it would obviate the need for European aid, the bulk of which would be shouldered by Germany", explains the daily. So that would satisfy her electorate. Furthermore, "by refusing to untie the purse strings, Angela Merkel is forcing Sarkozy to be more receptive to the German vision of economic and monetary union".

Last week French finance minister Christine Lagarde had brushed aside the idea of a "European Monetary Fund", a tougher version of the Stability Pact, put forward by her German opposite number, Wolfgang Schäuble. "The IMF option that Berlin is keeping on the table is raising the stakes of economic governance...and mounting the pressure on Paris, which has been conspicuously silent on the subject these past few days," concludes La Tribune.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 20th, 2010 at 04:43:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Possibly related diary: Mercantilism Rules, OK?
by Bernard (bernard) on Sat Mar 20th, 2010 at 07:16:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Czech minister quits over controversial power plant | Reuters

(Reuters) - Czech Environment Minister Jan Dusik resigned Thursday from the caretaker cabinet, saying the prime minister had put pressure on him to decide hastily on plans to upgrade a controversial large coal-fired power plant.

The ministry has yet to rule on the project, which has drawn objections from environmentalists and from Micronesia. The Pacific nation fears increasing floods as a result of climate change partly due to carbon emissions from the Czech Prunerov plant.

Dusik told reporters that as one of his last acts as minister he would ask Czech utility CEZ to submit an alternative plan for the work at Prunerov, using the best-available technology, or to cut emissions elsewhere.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 20th, 2010 at 02:59:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is still the same caretaker government of the Topolanek government that collapsed in 2009? Aren't elections necessary by this point...?

Well, I looked it up... Czech politics appears a nice muddle of competing factions; it's a pity we read so little about it here at ET.

Czech legislative election, 2010 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Due to a complaint filed by independent ex-ČSSD MP Miloš Melčák (he filed because he claims he has the right to sit in parliament for a full term), the election may have to be postponed as the Constitutional Court examines the legality of the law setting the election date.[8] A hearing was set for 10 September 2009; if the court rules at that date against the complaint, elections could be held as planned. In either case, politicians were in agreement that they would change the constitution to simplify the procedure of calling early elections, and using the new provisions, the election would be held at most with a month's delay[9][10] regardless of the court's decision (likely on 6-7 November).[11][12]

As the Court ruled the election date invalid, the laws (a constitutional amendment and a law shortening election deadlines) were passed on 11 September as planned.[13] President Klaus signed the laws on 12 September, and parliament planned to dissolve itself on 15 September.[14] Melčák stated, however, that he would likely file another complaint if this plan went ahead.[15]

In a surprise move, the ČSSD announced on 15 September that it would not vote in favour of dissolution, as the new law was likely to be challenged by Melčák again and this would again call the legality of the election into question; they now were in favour of elections in mid-2010, at the regularly scheduled date.[16] The ČSSD has 71 seats and needs ten more MPs supporting their position to delay the election, but it was considered likely that they would succeed in blocking the election.[17][18] The KSČM also withdrew their support for early elections, meaning the election will be held in May 2010.[19]

And despite all this, the ČSSD still polls as the largest party...?

by Nomad (Bjinse) on Sun Mar 21st, 2010 at 05:46:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't get what you see as negative on the ČSSD in the quoted part; but the caretaker government is headed by Jan Fischer. And that idiot Topolánek (who as people may remember was the full monty man from the Berlusconi villa photos) created yet another scandal. (I can't find it in English yet, so here I am paraphasing only.)

Demonstrating his liberal mores, Topolánek went for a photo shoot for a gay magazine. But the magazine also taped and published the chat he had with the journalists. He was asked what he thinks about gays, to which he responded by telling about the openly gay transport minister that "if he meets strong resistance, he rather avoids conflict". And then added, regarding PM Fischer, "because he is a Jew, he avoids conflict even more -- this has to do with his character"...

Topolánek apologised since, and insisted that he was quoted out of context (how?...). Curiously, Radio Pragie reports only the third controversy on these taped comments, his negative remarks regarding organised church.

News - 21-03-2010 08:39 - Radio Prague

Topolánek angered by publication of off the record comments about the Church

Former Czech prime minister Mirek Topolánek has reacted angrily to the publication of off the record comments he made during a photo shoot for a gay magazine. The website blesk.cz posted a video recording from the photo session in which the Civic Democrats chairman says the Church brainwashed its followers and made idiots out of the masses. Mr Topolánek said he resented the fact than an informal interview had been made public, saying he had actually proclaimed strong links to Christianity. He said he had not wished to offend either the contemporary Church or worshippers. The photos were being taken to accompany an interview Mr Topolánek gave to the gay magazine LUI.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Mar 21st, 2010 at 08:12:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's not what I personally see as negative. It's about what can be perceived as negative. Elections are about perceptions, narratives, etc. Enter kcurie.

At first glance a party who is blocking elections, never mind the circumstances, is not a great look for democracy in my viewpoint, and it can easily be spun like that in media narratives. I hope that hasn't happened much now Topolánek has gloriously grabbed the spotlight of the media all by himself.

Thanks for the update.

by Nomad (Bjinse) on Sun Mar 21st, 2010 at 08:44:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well... a government party blocking elections, or a single opposition party doing so while doing bad in the polls would be such a bad situation. But what we have here is an ex-member of the ČSSD (IIRC one of the traitors who supported the Topolánek government) being the culprit for blocking (and indeed it looks bad on him: he does it because he won't be re-nominated); and the ČSSD and the KSČM saw the latest attempt to go around him as futile and gave up. (Which was back in September BTW; and was at a time ČSSD led the polls but was in a slow decline from 29 to 28% lasting until the end of the year when they jumped back; see polls here.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Mar 21st, 2010 at 09:12:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
an ex-member of the ČSSD (IIRC one of the traitors who supported the Topolánek government)


Czech Social Democratic Party - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The election at first caused a stalemate since the right-wing parties (with Green Party) and left-wing parties each had 100 seats. The stalemate was broken when two ČSSD deputies, Miloš Melčák and Michal Pohanka abstained during a vote of confidence, allowing a coalition of the Civic Democrats (ODS), the Christian Democrats (KDU-ČSL), and the Green Party (SZ) to form a government.

BTW, ET reported last August the previous constitutional court ruling against the new elections decree following Melčák's complaint.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun Mar 21st, 2010 at 09:28:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BTW, the latest poll:

Czech Social Democrats Keep Upper Hand: Angus Reid Global Monitor

(Angus Reid Global Monitor) - People in the Czech Republic continue to place the opposition Czech Social Democratic Party (CSSD) as the most popular political organization, according to a poll by STEM. 28.6 per cent of respondents would vote for the CSSD in this year's legislative ballot.

The ruling Civic Democratic Party (ODS) is in second place with 23.2 per cent, followed by the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia (KSCM) with 11.7 per cent, Tradition Responsibility Prosperity 09 (TOP 09) with 9.1 per cent, Public Affairs (VV) with 4.7 per cent, the Christian and Democratic Union - Czech People's Party (KDU-CSL) with 4.3 per cent, and the Green Party (SZ) with 2.7 per cent.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Mar 21st, 2010 at 08:21:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Golden age of the new populists | Presseurop - English

A number of European countries are seeing a renaissance of far right movements. While those in the East espouse Fascist ideologies, the Western brands target multiculturalism and Islam in particular.

Right-wing populism is going from strength to strength in Europe. That's nothing new in the East: the genuinely pro-Fascist parties always do well in Hungary, Slovakia and Romania. Heirs to the jingoistic ideologies of the 1930s, they champion an ethnic-religious national identity, reviving old territorial disputes and the perennial issue of ethnic minorities.

In Hungary, the general elections on 10 April should deliver victory to the big conservative nationalist party Fidesz, but also confirm the breakthrough of Jobbik, an anti-Semitic, xenophobic party that now boasts three MEPs of its own. In Slovakia, the radically nationalist National Slovak Party (SNS) is likely to stand its ground in a coalition government after the 12 June parliamentary elections.

Against multicultural society and Islam

Here in the West, right-wing extremism has been thriving since its facelift. "We're seeing a big renewal of identity-based rightisms, a new generation of radical right-wing parties," sums up Jean-Yves Camus, a researcher at IRIS (l'Institut de relations internationales et stratégiques). The leaders of these parties manage to avoid being branded "extremists" and remain on the edge of what democratic elements of society and the law consider a yellow line. These "right-wing populists", like their left-wing counterparts, prefer direct to representative democracy, denouncing elites who they say are out of touch with reality, self-propagating, corrupted by cosmopolitanism and globalisation.

Nice photo on that page.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 20th, 2010 at 04:40:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But we have centre right politicians to thank for this tendency. their populist appeals to nationalist sentiment simply encourages them.

in the UK we've had both NuLab and the tories speaking in far-right code, that's not to mention the UK Independence party who are, in not racists, then the next worst thing.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Mar 20th, 2010 at 06:08:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
the genuinely pro-Fascist parties always do well in Hungary, Slovakia and Romania.

That's stretching it a bit... there have been elections in both Romania and Hungary when the far-right failed the 5% margin, and the numbers of Slovakia's SNS fluctuated strongly, too. And the double-digits Hungary's Jobbik will get in three weeks is unprecedented.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun Mar 21st, 2010 at 07:56:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
suck. on. this:
Linda Zhou, Alice Wei Zhao, Lori Ying, Angela Yu-Yun Yeung, Lynnelle Lin Ye, Kevin Young Xu, Benjamin Chang Sun, Jane Yoonhae Suh, Katheryn Cheng Shi, Sunanda Sharma, Sarine Gayaneh Shahmirian, Arjun Ranganath Puranik, Raman Venkat Nelakant, Akhil Mathew, Paul Masih Das, David Chienyun Liu, Elisa Bisi Lin, Yifan Li, Lanair Amaad Lett, Ruoyi Jiang, Otana Agape Jakpor, Peter Danming Hu, Yale Wang Fan, Yuval Yaacov Calev, Levent Alpoge, John Vincenzo Capodilupo and Namrata Anand. <...>

All these kids are American high school students. They were the majority of the 40 finalists in the 2010 Intel Science Talent Search, which, through a national contest, identifies and honors the top math and science high school students in America, based on their solutions to scientific problems. The awards dinner was Tuesday, and, as you can see from the above list, most finalists hailed from immigrant families, largely from Asia.

The march of civilizations is a series of defenses that man has put up against the dread of pure existence.
by marco on Sun Mar 21st, 2010 at 08:00:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Xenophobes might say that if these Asians were not in America the top 40 would be white anglo kids like God intended.

The brainless should not be in banking -- Willem Buiter
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Mar 21st, 2010 at 08:02:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They list 26 of the 40. So, 14 finalists were "not obviously from immigrant families".

The brainless should not be in banking -- Willem Buiter
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Mar 21st, 2010 at 08:04:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How many of the immigrants were nth generation with funny furrin names?

And besides - so what?

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sun Mar 21st, 2010 at 11:16:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Beppe Grillo's Blog
Alviano (1554 inh), Baschi (2742 inh), Guardea (1883 inh), Lugnano in Teverina (1593 inh), Polino (284 inh) Stroncone (4815 inh) are not actually Municipalities, but rather investment banks. Together with otherUmbrian Municipalities they bought into swap arrangements, or "derivative" financial instruments, to the tune of 466 million Euro. Even some small municipalities where the word "swap" has some sort of mystical, metaphysical or even hallucinogenic quality landed up in debt because they tried to act as financial experts.
Swaps enable the investor to get money in advance from the banks on the basis of significant predicted earnings. Now, after the crisis, these Municipalities find themselves having to pay back money with the initial capital gone. Swaps are like legalised usury, a game of Russian roulette played with only one empty chamber. You take the money today, trusting in God and paying sizeable commissions to the trading banks. In the case where a Municipality is unable to settle the accumulated debt, they can refinance the debt by taking another gamble, another swap, and so on until the crash happens. In this way, they hide any budget shortfalls by making risky investments that remove resources from subsequent annual municipal budgets.
What usually happens is that the mayors that deal in swaps never have to answer for their actions because the losses are shouldered by their successors and the local citizens. In total, the local municipalities invested in swaps to the tune of 35 billion Euro, which makes up one third of their entire debt (source: Financial Times).
Derivatives are somewhat like the field of miracles in the tale of Jack and the Beanstalk. The field of miracles where they planted gold coins and trees sprang up overnight to make the money grow. How can any municipality hope to ever escape from this unsustainable debt resulting from the trade in derivatives? They lodge a complaint against the banks, which, in their opinion, defrauded them. Milano has led the way by lodging complaints againstJP Morgan, Depfa, Deutsche Bank e UBS. The"Milanese derivatives" were subscribed to back in 2005 by Albertini, the parking garage king, who is now enjoying his old age as a Euro-Parliamentarian in Brussels. A thirty-year investment the equivalent of an annual budget, namely 1.7 billion Euro. The Municipality doesn't want to bear 100 million Euro of loss (accumulated to date) and has taken legal action to claim 239 million Euro in compensation. The Municipality only realised after four years that they had signed an idiotic contract, which did however give them access to cash up front, thereby admitting that they were not of sound mind. The court case is due to commence in May and this blog will be following the proceedings closely.
Who was it that allowed the Municipalities to empty their coffers into derivatives? The unstoppable Tremorti of course, Italy's king of debt, via the 2002 Budget Law . Given the resulting disaster, he proceeded to ban this type of investment in 2009, what a forward thinker!

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun Mar 21st, 2010 at 05:20:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ukraine PM exorcises predecessor Tymoshenko's ghost - Yahoo! News
The glamorous Orange Revolution princess and former premier Yulia Tymoshenko may now be in opposition but her ghosts are still haunting the government offices in Ukraine. Or so her successor insists, who said Friday he had had to ask an Orthodox priest to exorcise Tymoshenko's spirit from his office. "It was very hard to breathe in there," Ukraine's Russian-speaking premier Mykola Azarov told reporters on a visit to the eastern city of Dnipropetrovsk. "After exorcism it has become easier to breathe and I entered the office," the Interfax news agency quoted Azarov as saying. The ritual was performed by a priest from the Kiev-based ancient Caves Monastery, one of Ukraine's top landmarks.

Azarov, an unassuming career bureaucrat, also said the current cabinet didn't have any women because the situation in Ukraine was too tough for any woman to handle. "At present the situation in the country is rather difficult, and people who can work 16-18 hours a day ... have been taken into the government." "Conducting reforms is not women's business," Azarov said.

"Ce qui vient au monde pour ne rien troubler ne mérite ni égards ni patience." René Char
by Melanchthon on Sun Mar 21st, 2010 at 07:59:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Wonderful. In a rather sad way.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sun Mar 21st, 2010 at 11:18:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 20th, 2010 at 01:59:35 PM EST
Bernanke: Too big to fail a pernicious problem | Reuters

(Reuters) - Regulators must be "significantly tougher" on large and complex financial firms to limit wider risks, but big firms are still needed to keep the global economy humming, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said on Saturday.

Bernanke told an Independent Community Bankers of America conference that the problem of some firms being perceived as "too big to fail" is among the "most insidious" barriers to competition in financial markets.

"As the crisis has shown, one of the greatest threats to the diversity and efficiency of our financial system is the pernicious problem of financial institutions that are deemed 'too big to fail,'" he said.

"It is unconscionable that the fate of the world economy should be so closely tied to the fortunes of a relatively small number of giant financial firms," he added.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 20th, 2010 at 02:07:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Wall Street's latest rally has many flaws | Reuters

NEW YORK (Reuters) - With U.S. stocks pressing up against 17-month highs, the inevitable question arises: "Does this rally have legs?"

From one perspective, things couldn't look rosier for the bulls. The S&P 500 touched another 17-month high on Wednesday, breaking through levels analysts identified as significant resistance. More stocks in the S&P are hitting fresh 52-week highs than at any time during the course of the rally.

But the steady rise in the last six weeks has been accompanied by middling volume and underperformance in key areas, such as semiconductor companies. Market technicians and strategists believe the current run is overbought, suggesting at least a near-term pullback.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 20th, 2010 at 02:12:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Stocks rally loses steam, euro slumps | Reuters

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Global shares slipped from 17-month highs on Friday as weakness in earnings and a rising dollar stunted long-running rallies, while concerns over Greece's debt burden kept pressure on the euro.

Oil suffered its steepest drop in six weeks as the dollar firmed against the euro and other currencies. Cheaper crude oil weighed on energy shares in the United States and Europe.

The euro posted its worst weekly performance against the dollar since late January as traders waited to see if Greece can secure aid from its fellow euro zone members at a European Union summit next week. Greece has said that it might have to turn to the International Monetary Fund for help.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 20th, 2010 at 02:16:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Greece will pay its debts, will not default: PM | Reuters

(Reuters) - Greece has taken the necessary steps to tackle its fiscal crisis and will not default on its debt obligations, the country's prime minister said on Saturday in a speech to his socialist party's national council.

Greece is pressing for a concrete standby package from its European Union partners to help bring its borrowing costs down. The overborrowed country currently pays almost twice as much as Germany to refinance its debt.

European Union leaders are set to discuss a support mechanism for Greece when they meet in Brussels on March 25-26. Greece has said it may have to turn to the IMF if a European solution is not found to help it manage its debt mountain.

"Let everyone be certain, Greece will not default, we will not let it default. Greece has a strong government and courageous people. We are returning to the road of economic stability," Papandreou said.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 20th, 2010 at 02:15:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 20th, 2010 at 01:59:59 PM EST
Factbox: Winners and losers in House healthcare bill | Reuters

(Reuters) - Drugmakers, device companies and health insurers all got some good news when Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives released changes to healthcare reform legislation on Thursday.

Hefty taxes on those three industries were delayed by at least a year, among other adjustments to the bill that seeks to overhaul the nation's healthcare system.

Following are some of the winners and losers for the healthcare industry based on the reconciliation bill the House is considering along with the Senate's bill. A vote is expected on Sunday.



by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 20th, 2010 at 02:05:22 PM EST
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Hatch Says It's 'Nuts' to Think House Vote Ends Health Issue - Bloomberg.com

March 20 (Bloomberg) -- Republican Senator Orrin Hatch said Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives are "nuts" to think tomorrow's vote on health-care legislation will resolve the issue.

If the measure passes, Senate Republicans have enough votes on at least two points of order to alter the measure and send it back to the House for a second round of votes, Hatch said in an interview on Bloomberg Television's "Political Capital with Al Hunt," airing this weekend.

"If those people think they're only going to vote on this once, they're nuts," Hatch said as House Democratic leaders rounded up support before the scheduled vote on President Barack Obama's top domestic priority.

The senator from Utah also said the approach Democrats are using to pass the legislation in the House may be unconstitutional because the House and Senate aren't voting on "exactly the same language."

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 20th, 2010 at 04:35:46 PM EST
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Degenerate House Rules Committee rally. SCOTUS invites seem to have gone lost in the mail.

CSPAN, 00:46:00, 20 March 2010

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sun Mar 21st, 2010 at 11:33:50 AM EST
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BBC News - UN chief Ban Ki-moon demands Israel settlements halt

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has said Israeli settlement building anywhere in occupied territory is illegal and must stop.

Mr Ban is in the Middle East to meet Israeli and Palestinian leaders and press them to resume peace talks.

Israel's controversial announcement of plans to build 1,600 more homes in East Jerusalem has inflamed tensions in the region and between Israel and the US.

The Palestinian leadership has said the plan is an obstacle to resuming talks.

Mr Ban's statement comes a day after he made a similar call, speaking for the international Quartet of Middle East peace mediators - the UN, Russia, the EU and the US.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 20th, 2010 at 02:15:09 PM EST
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NIGERIA: Acting President Consolidates Power Amid Unrest - IPS ipsnews.net
WASHINGTON, Mar 19, 2010 (IPS) - This week, acting Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan dissolved his cabinet, further securing his tenuous hold on the country's top post amidst rising unrest in the Niger Delta and flaring religious tensions in the central region of the country.

On Wednesday, Goodluck dismissed all of ailing President Umaru Yar'Adua's ministers, effectively allowing the acting president to appoint ministers of his choosing.

Yar'Adua, who has been receiving medical treatment in Saudi Arabia for three months, returned to Nigeria on Feb. 24 amidst a heavy military presence at the airport, but hasn't been seen since.

"[Jonathan] did not give us any reason for the dissolution of the cabinet," said Dora Akunyili, the information minister, in a short statement released on Wednesday.

On Feb. 10, Nigeria's National Assembly voted to make Goodluck the acting president. Since then, Goodluck's aggressive power consolidation has furthered the hopes of many Nigerians hopes that reform is imminent.

"[Jonathan's dissolution of the cabinet] is a signal for many that Goodluck Jonathan is perhaps about to put in place his own men, his own women, his own team," said Al Jazeera's Nigeria correspondent, Yvonne Ndege, on Thursday.

"It was felt by many Nigerians that the cabinet was basically packed to the rafters with Yar'Adua loyalists who weren't doing the job they were supposed to be doing, or rather doing a good enough job," said Ndege.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 20th, 2010 at 02:28:48 PM EST
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by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 20th, 2010 at 02:00:34 PM EST
BBC News - China sandstorm leaves Beijing shrouded in orange dust

Beijing has been shrouded in orange dust as a strong sandstorm blew hundreds of miles from drought-struck northern China to the nation's capital.

In Tiananmen Square, clouds of dust obscured monuments, while visitors wore masks to avoid the dust and soil in windy conditions.

A level five pollution warning was issued in the hazardous conditions, and people were urged to stay indoors.

The storm also hit Xinjiang and Inner Mongolia, Shanxi, Shaanxi and Hebei.

On Saturday it had spread over an area of 810,000 sq km with a population of 250 million, official news agency Xinhua reported.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 20th, 2010 at 02:14:37 PM EST
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China, meet your future.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Mar 20th, 2010 at 06:55:56 PM EST
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KENYA: Trying to Rebuild Communities After Floods - IPS ipsnews.net
NAIROBI, Mar 19, 2010 (IPS) - After torrential rains and floods claimed lives in Kenya's North Rift region, hundreds of displaced people are now in dire need of relief aid.

In Turkana, one of the worst affected areas, hundreds of homes have been washed away by floods or buried under landslides. Access to clean water and sanitation have become a major issue in the area, where the displaced have to relieve themselves in bushes.

"My house was suddenly filled with water. My toilet was carried away, and also the vegetables, which I had planted on my farm," lamented Godfrey Chume, one of the displaced residents in the Turkana area.

The father of two said he gathered up his family members and quickly ran up a hill to be swept away by the torrents. "My boys came down with a fever. For now, my family is staying with neighbours, as I work towards rebuilding what was destroyed," Chuma told IPS.

Strong flood waters caused the Kerio river to burst its banks in the area in early March, destroying irrigation schemes, roads as well as fields, especially sorghum and maize crops, which is likely to result in food shortages for many months to come.

Chume says his and other families, who live in a settlement called California, in the Turkana district, say they have not been reached by any of the relief aid distributed by government and non-governmental organisations. They have been struggling to put enough food on the table and have used their little savings to buy from a nearby town. But in the long-run, they will end up in a difficult situation, Chume believes, because their livelihoods depend on the yields from their farmlands.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 20th, 2010 at 02:31:38 PM EST
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UV Exposure Has Increased But Now Stabilized
NASA scientists analyzing 30 years of satellite data have found that the amount of ultraviolet (UV) radiation reaching Earth's surface has increased markedly over the last three decades. Most of the increase has occurred in the mid-and-high latitudes, and there's been little or no increase in tropical regions.

The new analysis shows, for example, that at one line of latitude - 32.5 degrees - a line that runs through central Texas in the northern hemisphere and the country of Uruguay in the southern hemisphere, 305 nanometer UV levels have gone up by some 6 percent on average since 1979.

The primary culprit: decreasing levels of stratospheric ozone, a colorless gas that acts as Earth's natural sunscreen by shielding the surface from damaging UV radiation.

The finding reinforces previous observations that show UV levels are stabilizing after countries began signing an international treaty that limited the emissions of ozone-depleting gases in 1987. The study also shows that increased cloudiness in the southern hemisphere over the 30-year period has impacted UV.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 20th, 2010 at 02:52:45 PM EST
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Scientific Breakthrough In Genetic Studies Of Animal Domestication
The domestication of animals and plants is the most important technological innovation during human history. This genetic transformation of wild species has occurred as humans have used individuals carrying favorable gene variants for breeding purposes. In the current issue of Nature an international team led by researchers at Uppsala University has revealed some of the secrets underlying the remarkable development of the domestic chicken.

The domestic chicken has in recent years become the most important and cost-effective source of animal protein world-wide. In the beginning of the 20th century specialized layer (egg-producing) and broiler (meat-producing) chickens were developed. The approach has been remarkably successful and has led to huge improvements in productivity.

"The strategy to study four different populations of layer chickens as well as four broiler populations allowed us to reveal genetic changes of crucial importance for chicken domestication in general as well as changes that were essential for the development of layers or broilers", says Leif Andersson who coordinated the study.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 20th, 2010 at 02:55:38 PM EST
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Sustainable Ecosystems and Community News:

Federal limits on water that can be pumped out of a major river delta for California farmers are scientifically justified, a much-anticipated report said on Friday, a finding hailed by environmentalists in the state's epic water wars.

But the National Academy of Sciences stopped short of handing a decisive victory to environmental interests over agricultural interests. The academy said further study was required and that threats to Chinook salmon, delta smelt and other endangered fish were not entirely caused by the pumping.

"The Academy of Sciences report clearly validates the biological opinions," Ann Hayden, a senior water resource analyst for the Environmental Defense Fund, said of regulations devised under court order by federal wildlife biologists and issued in late 2008.

"It's time to stop pitting the economic interests of farmers against fishermen and move forward to find solutions," Hayden said. "We have pushed the Bay-Delta system to the brink of collapse and saving it -- and the jobs that depend on it -- is going to require increased cooperation among all interests."

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 20th, 2010 at 02:57:30 PM EST
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by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 20th, 2010 at 02:01:00 PM EST
DEVELOPMENT: Political Will the Missing Link for MDGs - IPS ipsnews.net
UNITED NATIONS, Mar 19, 2010 (IPS) - Despite numerous factors that threaten the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals by 2015 - a global financial crisis, a food crisis, climate change, natural disasters - U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said this week that his main concern is "political will".

Ban addressed U.N. member states and media following the release of his report, "Keeping the Promise", on Mar. 16. The report "reviews successes, identifies obstacles, and suggests ways to accelerate progress," according to the secretary-general.

At a meeting of the General Assembly, he warned that, "We are off course because of unmet commitments, inadequate resources and a lack of focus and accountability."

"We do not need new pledges," Ban said later that day at a media briefing. "If nations deliver on the financial commitments they have already made, we can achieve the goals. There is clearly a lack of political will."
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 20th, 2010 at 02:25:51 PM EST
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DEVELOPMENT: 'Aid Industry is Part of the Problem' - IPS ipsnews.net
STOCKHOLM, Mar 18, 2010 (IPS) - Aid organisations perpetuate humanitarian disasters. That is one of the conclusions made by war correspondent Linda Polman in her latest book as she describes the world of humanitarian aid.

When there is a major disaster, large and wealthy aid organisations come pouring into the area, according to Polman who has seen the results in a range of crisis areas.

"Should international non-governmental organisations (NGOs) carry on providing relief if warring factions use aid for their own benefit, thus prolonging the war?" she asks.

`With Friends Like These (De crisiskaravaan) - The untold story of humanitarian aid operations in war zones' investigates the effects of emergency aid on the course of wars and on the crises themselves. She criticises the aid industry`s multi-billion dollar operations, which she describes as a business in a market of supply and demand, dressed up as Mother Teresa.

"Aid has always been a subject of abuse. Money is disappearing into the wrong pockets,'' she says.

Polman talks about "contract fever" and how aid organisations focus on winning and extending contracts and follow the flow of funds. As donors look for other disasters and other countries, the crisis caravan - international humanitarian organisations such as Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and the International Committee of the Red Cross - set off again.

The salaries and the danger-and-discomfort bonuses in the aid sector are said to be fostering an international jet set. "In humanitarian territories, restaurants, squash courts and golf and tennis facilities are often reconstructed sooner than bombed-out schools and clinics," she writes in her book and notes "wherever aid workers go, prostitution soars".

She also describes how aid is used and abused by governments and rebels.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 20th, 2010 at 02:29:43 PM EST
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Rare Armor-Plated Creature Unearthed In Ottawa
Scientists have unearthed the remains of one of the Worlds rarest fossils - in downtown Ottawa. The 450 million year old fossil preserves the complete skeleton of a plumulitid machaeridian, one of only 8 such specimens known.

Plumulitids were annelid worms - the group including earthworms, bristleworms and leeches, today found everywhere from the deepest sea to the soil in your yard - and although plumulitids were small they reveal important evidence of how this major group of organisms evolved.

"Such significant new fossils are generally discovered in remote or little studied areas of the globe, requiring difficult journeys and a bit of adventure to reach them" notes Jakob Vinther of Yale University, lead author of the paper describing the specimen. "Not this one though. It was found in a place that has an address rather than map co-ordinates!"

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 20th, 2010 at 02:51:45 PM EST
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Fan's death threatens PSG's future | www.english.rfi.fr

French Secretary of State for Sport, Rama Yade, has said the survival of Paris Saint-Germain football club is "at stake" if the club does not start taking intense action against fan violence. A Paris Saint-Germain football supporter died after spending weeks in a coma, following an attack by fellow fans.

"The worst has happened," Yade said. "Supporters who kill each other should be punished with the utmost severity. The very survival of the club is at stake."

The 37-year-old Parisian supporter, known as Yann L, suffered a beating by fellow PSG supporters on the fringes of a match against arch-rivals Marseille on 28 February.

He died early Thursday.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 20th, 2010 at 03:05:13 PM EST
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BBC NEWS | World | Africa | South African rape survey shock

One in four South African men questioned in a survey said they had raped someone, and nearly half of them admitted more than one attack.

The study, by the country's Medical Research Council, also found three out of four who admitted rape had attacked for the first time during their teens.

It said practices such as gang rape were common because they were considered a form of male bonding.

The MRC spoke to 1,738 men in KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape provinces.

The research was conducted in both rural and urban areas and included all racial groups.

Using an electronic device to keep the results anonymous, the study found that 73% of those who admitted rape said they had carried out their first assault before the age of 20.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun Mar 21st, 2010 at 09:54:00 AM EST
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by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 20th, 2010 at 02:01:25 PM EST
BBC News - Man used penis to assault female police officer

A man who assaulted a female police officer with his penis has been fined.

Marium Varinauskas, 28, tried to strike the officer on the head with his penis when she was called out to his flat, but she got out of the way.

Lithuanian Varinauskas admitted a charge of assault at Aberdeen Sheriff Court and was fined £600.

The court heard he had been drinking heavily and could not remember committing the offence at his home in Aberdeen.

Police were called to his home by his girlfriend, who had complained about him being drunk last November.

They arrived to find the self-employed engineer sitting on the sofa wearing a pair of underpants.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 20th, 2010 at 02:38:38 PM EST
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penis mightier than the sword.

sorry, but it had to be said...

if he found her attractive, we could have been talking serious concussion.

luckily for her, uniforms don't turn him on.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun Mar 21st, 2010 at 05:14:25 AM EST
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anyone else having problems with dkos on firefox?

works ok in safari...

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun Mar 21st, 2010 at 08:32:35 AM EST
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Shades of a clockwork orange.

The brainless should not be in banking -- Willem Buiter

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Mar 21st, 2010 at 09:13:43 AM EST
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